Planning Tips for Same-Sex Couples

January 3, 2019
Words by Jennifer Stein
Photos courtesy of Carlos Castillo Photography

We’re offering up some planning tips for LGBTQ couples, as well as advice for first-time attendees of a same-sex wedding. Bernadette Coveney Smith, wedding planner and same-sex wedding expert, has weighed-in on her top tips for pulling off/attending the wedding of your dreams while hopefully avoiding any unnecessary complications. To learn more about Bernadette and her business, visit

3 Things Attendees at a Same-Sex Wedding Should Know

  • This wedding may be something different than what you are used to – but don’t say things like, “That’s not what happens at a real wedding!”
  • Don’t be surprised if this wedding doesn’t have the typical trappings – things like a wedding party, the couple being escorted by their parents down the aisle and so forth. Many same-sex couples prefer to think outside the box and forgo wedding traditions.
  • You are doing such a great thing by attending this wedding. Chances are, this couple has people in their lives who don’t support their right to marry – so thank you for being there for them.

5 Things Same-Sex Couples Should Know when Planning a Destination Wedding

  • It’s probably easier to legally marry in the U.S. than in those few countries where same-sex marriage is legal, so plan to marry at home and host your celebration abroad.
  • The last thing you want on your wedding day is to experience discrimination, so start by choosing a destination known to be LGBTQ-friendly, a place like Mexico, the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire & Curacao), the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico or one of the countries where same-sex marriage is legal, such as South Africa or Iceland!
  • When you are booking your wedding venue, be sure to ask the sales manager if all of the staff, including banquet staff who will be with you on your wedding day, are LGBTQ-friendly.
  • You may want to bring fully vetted LGBTQ-friendly vendors such as photographers and officiants with you from the States so you don’t have to worry about finding those talents in your destination location. One great place to find vendors is
  • Take great care of your wedding guests! They are traveling to be with you and show their support, so make sure they have loads of things to do, have a welcome bag or basket, have airport transfers and otherwise feel well-provided-for during their stay.

Wyndham Alltra

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